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Colbert Nation launches into orbit

By Brian | April 15, 2009 | Share on Facebook

As disturbing as my last TV-related post was, this one really makes me smile.

Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s hilarious Colbert Report, has made a habit of asking his viewers to write in his name in a variety of public naming contests. To date, he’s managed to get a Hungarian bridge, a San Francisco Zoo-born eagle, a hockey team mascot, a species of trapdoor spider and a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor named after him.

His most recent target was the new node (i.e., room) on the International Space Station, which NASA has asked the public to name via on online poll. NASA’s suggestions were “Serenity,” “Legacy,” “Earthrise,” “Venture,” and the dreaded write-in vote. So enthusiastic are Colbert’s fans (which he has dubbed the “Colbert Nation”) that as of a few weeks ago, the write-in suggestion “Colbert” was beating it’s closest competitor (“Serenity”) by nearly 20,000 votes. NASA wisely reserved the right to ignore the poll results and pick an “appropriate” name, should they be unhappy with the public’s selection.

Well, as it turns out, after 1.2 million votes were cast, NASA went with “Tranquility,” one of the Top Ten suggestions in the poll, in honor of the upcoming 40th anniversary of Apollo 11′s historic moon landing at the Sea of Tranquility.

In a nod to Colbert Nation, though, NASA has dubbed a treadmill that will eventually reside in the new node the “‘Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill,” or C.O.L.B.E.R.T. for short. Astronaut Suni Williams made the announcement on “The Colbert Report,” two years after running the Boston Marathon in space on a station treadmill similar to COLBERT.

Incidentally, the logo on the left is the actual image posted on the actual NASA page announcing the name of the new space station node.

Kudos to Steven Colbert for keeping the public enthusiastic about the space program, and kudos to NASA for not taking itself so seriously as to ignore the taxpayers that fund their important research.

Topics: Primetime TV, The Future is Now, The World Wide Weird | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Colbert Nation launches into orbit”

  1. Jeff Porten says at April 16th, 2009 at 7:24 pm :
    What’s amusing about the vote is that the second-place vote is also a pop culture reference to Firefly. If they had gone with Serenity over Colbert, they’d really have demonstrated tone-deafness. I agree, kudos for their handling of it.

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